Promoting Youth Employment through Information and Communication Technologies in Vocational Education in Tanzania
Africa is the most youthful continent in the world with approximetly 20% of the global youth population and is expected to increase by 42% by the end of 2030. This great number of youth which can be used as a huge asset for the country’s economic growth and development is largely unemployed. As a result, governments have introduced Vocational Education and Training (VET) by providing occupation oriented trainings in a bid to reduce unemployment amongst youth. Despite these efforts, the majority of VET graduates remain unemployed due to the inadequate employability skills needed in the current job market. This study implemented a project aiming at enhancing employability skills through ICT in four centres: Nangwa VTC, Manyara VTC, Arusha VTC, Mto wa Mbu FDC, and Ketumbeine secondary school with a total of 100 students and 20 teachers. Through participating in the project, it was expected that students would gain the ICT skills as well as the 21st-Century skills required in the current workplace. At the end of the project, an evaluation was conducted using a self-administered survey where a total of 80 students were involved in the four centres. Moreover, Focus Group Discussions (FGDs), non-participatory observation, and documentary review were adopted as qualitative data instruments. It was found that that students’ perceived competence and skills levels on technology knowledge of multimedia as moderate (M=3.63) while that of CISCO were found to be high with 76 students graduated and obtained a CISCO certification. In terms of the 21st-Century skills, it was found that students’ self-reported confidence levels in all four 21st-Century skills domains were found to be high with collaboration skills (M=4.5) being the highest followed by communication skills (M=4.26), leadership (4.20) and creativity and innovation (4.06). Nonetheless, the lowest 21st-Century skills element was critical thinking skills (M=3.9). The findings from this study show that with some planned activities within colleges, students can easily acquire the needed employability skills. The implication of these findings are discussed.